Rivka Haut, a founder of Women of the Wall, dies

(JTA) — Rivka Haut, a Women of the Wall founder who convened the first women’s prayer service with a Torah scroll at the Kotel, has died.

Haut, who was also a foremost advocate for agunot, Orthodox women who have been refused a religious divorce, died Sunday of pancreatic cancer. She was 71.

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At the Women of the Wall prayer service on Tuesday, the women recited Kaddish, the mourner’s prayer, in memory of Haut.

On Dec. 1, 1988, she led a group of women in a prayer service with a Torah scroll at the Western Wall. She later helped found Women of the Wall, which continues to hold a monthly morning prayer service at the Kotel.

Haut also was a founder of the Women’s Tefillah Network.

She was the co-author of four books: “Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue,” with Rabbi Susan Grossman; “Women of the Wall: Claiming Sacred Ground at Judaism’s Holy Site,” with Phyllis Chesler; “Shaarei Simcha: Gates of Joy,” with Adena Berkowitz; and a forthcoming book about agunot with Susan Aranoff.

Haut had master’s degrees in English literature from Brooklyn College and in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

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